Education or Exploitation: Ebola toys sold out online

Ebola isn’t just a hot topic for adults, now children are growing in awareness of the virus through their toys. A Connecticut company has begun the production of stuffed Ebola toys for children.

Giantmicrobes Inc is a company that creates stuffed toy based on various microbes as an educational tool for children. According to their website, the company dedicates itself to “produce educational vehicles based on accurate science to promote a greater understanding of the huge impact that tiny creatures have on our world.”

Under the Ebola toy listing, Giantmicrobes warns, “You do not want to get Ebola. A short incubation period of 2 to 21 days presages symptoms which include fever, aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, and both internal and external bleeding. And then, for between 50-90 percent of victims, death.”

The new plush toy has two available sizes, regular size ($14.95) and giant size ($29.95 ),which are brown replicas of the virus. There is also a petri dish toy of gel-like “primordial putty” ($9.95) of the Ebola virus replica inside.

These toys are marketed as an educational avenue for children and the website bolsters that their company has “made a meaningful impact on popular culture, both in the United States and around the world.”

Ebola is by no means a new and unknown virus in the world. It has killed thousands in West Africa for years, but it wasn’t until it touched the American borders that it reached such high notice in public opinion.

The Ebola hysteria and this toy can both can be used for commentary on the fact that when issues leave an area of predominantly impoverished persons and moves to a country with more money (read:power) and better means of health care services, the problem is only then considered worthy of educating our public about and advocating a cure for.

What Do You Think?

Are these toys a means of education and easing tensions or is it piggy-backing on the panic and hysteria many in America are feeling because of the virus?


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